Falun Gong | US sanctions Chinese official as it decries rights violations

The Biden administration announced sanctions on a Chinese official over human rights violations, including the arbitrary detention of a Falun Gong practitioner, as it decried the country’s persecution of religious groups from Tibet to Xinjiang.
The State Department slapped visa restrictions on Yu Hui, a former official in the Chengdu region, as well as his family, over persecution of the sect, which Beijing considers a cult. The designation was announced yesterday [Macau time], just as the department released its annual report on the state of religious freedom around the world.
The report detailed what the U.S. said were widespread abuses in China’s Xinjiang region, which a U.S. official said had been turned into an “open-air prison” designed to persecute Uyghurs and other minority Muslims.
“It is absolutely clear what horrors are taking place in Xinjiang,” said Daniel Nadel, the senior official in the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom. “We see quite clearly what it is – what it is is an effort to erase a people, a history, a culture.”
China pushes back against criticism of its policies in Xinjiang as interference in domestic affairs. Beijing says it is fighting terrorism while providing economic opportunities to adults and education to children in the western region.
“The so-called report ignores facts and is full of ideological bias,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a regular press briefing yesterday in Beijing. “It slanders China’s religious policies and spreads false information on issues involving Xinjiang.”
The nation’s people enjoy full freedom of religious beliefs, she said, adding China opposed the U.S. applying sanctions to its nationals. MDT/AP

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